The Aston Martin DB12 Works Even Better as a Convertible

By automotive-mag.com 8 Min Read

“Think of all the money you’ll save on therapy!” That’s what my brother said when I bought a Miata. It wasn’t anything special—a 2010 Grand Touring with the all-important limited-slip differential—but it was a soft-top convertible, and it was mine. A 2,800-mile road trip proved my brother right. Driving the top-down Miata felt great for my mental health.

That happy little car popped into my head last month when Aston Martin offered a quick stint in the DB12 Volante. It has little in common with my old Miata: double the cylinders, three and a half times the power, 1,500 extra pounds, and a sophisticated eight-speed auto instead of a simple six-speed stick. But they share the same mood-altering properties by way of a retractable fabric top and its associated sensory delights. Convertibles, man.

Quick Specs 2024 Aston Martin DB12 Volante
Engine Twin-Turbocharged 4.0-Liter V-8
Output 671 Horsepower / 590 Pound-Feet
0-60 MPH 3.6 Seconds
Top Speed 200 Miles Per Hour
Price $265,000 ($339,500 As-Tested)

With a base price of $265,000 (ballooning to my Caribbean Blue Pearl tester’s $339,500 with options), the DB12 Volante fights for the same consumer cash as the Ferrari Roma Spider and Bentley Continental GTC. The automaker also set out to create a vehicle that has the hard-edged performance of the former with the long-distance comfort of the latter, a blend of attributes that comprise its “super tourer” marketing schtick. If true, that combination of attributes seems tailor-made to keep brain serotonin levels high.

That said, the Aston comes up a wee bit short on paper—with 671 horsepower and 590 pound-feet, its AMG-sourced, twin-turbocharged V-8 makes more grunt than the 612-hp Roma and 650-hp Conti GTC Speed. The drop-top DB12’s 0-60 time of 3.6 seconds lags behind the Ferrari by 0.3 seconds thanks to the Italian’s lighter weight, and the Bentley can hit 208 miles per hour due to its freight-train 664 lb-ft of torque, while the DB12 runs out of steam at “just” 202 mph.

Skeptics might also cast aspersions at the DB12’s base structure, which isn’t substantively different from that of the DB11 it replaces. Aston Martin upgraded the suspension mounting points, stiffening up the front end specifically by 140 percent. Torsional rigidity is up 3 percent. But as is evident from the proportions and overall styling, the DB12 Volante shares more than a little with its predecessor.

2024 Aston Martin DB12 Volante First Drive Review

Pros: It’s A Convertible, It’s Beautiful, It’s Luxurious

But unless you drive cars in CAD programs instead of the real world, those numbers are merely hypothetical. The Volante is a stunner. The transition from coupe to convertible does great things for the DB12, jettisoning the hardtop’s oddly detailed C-pillar, accentuating those voluptuous rear fenders, and keeping the massive front grille and intricately designed headlights. Aston fits the cabriolet roof within a commendably low tonneau, eating into trunk space but preserving rearward visibility and, more importantly, a low and lean stance. The DB12 Volante passes the parking lot look-back test with flying colors.

Inside, the convertible has largely the same interior as the coupe, representing a huge improvement over the DB11. Our test car’s gorgeous wood trim spanned the dash, center console, front seatbacks, and door panels in an appeal to traditional luxury, but the matte, golden finish looked almost Scandinavian in its upscale modernity. Predictably, leather and soft-touch plastics appear everywhere, although I was disappointed by HVAC vents that looked hewn from aluminum but felt chintzy. Better leave those alone and focus on the hefty shift paddles sprouting from the wheel instead.

2024 Aston Martin DB12 Volante First Drive Review
2024 Aston Martin DB12 Volante First Drive Review

Gone is the DB11’s ovoid center stack, replaced with a more rectilinear and appealing design that highlights the Aston Martin–specific infotainment system. The 10.3-inch touchscreen is a massive upgrade over the DB11’s reskinned Mercedes COMAND interface, with slicker response and multi-touch gesture controls that should feel intuitive to any smartphone user. Its only major drawback is a too-dim screen that’s tilted up at about a 30-degree angle, wholly inappropriate for a sunny-day tourer like the DB12 Volante.

Dial up the DB12’s four-position drive selector to Sport Plus. Doing so uncorks the exhaust, letting that mellow V-8 snarl through upshifts, crackle when braking, and pop on overrun. It also sharpens up the electric steering, giving it some heft to match solid levels of communication. On the sun-soaked, rain-rutted drive route above Malibu, the DB12 Volante delivered information to the last pebble directly to my palms, improving my confidence in the grippy Michelin Pilot Sport 5S tires. Ditto the optional carbon brakes, which had no trouble arresting this 3,960-pound convertible.

2024 Aston Martin DB12 Volante First Drive Review

Cons: Old-ish Platform, Intrusive Electronics, Less Powerful Than Competitors

The steel springs, adaptive dampers, and fixed-rate anti-roll bars give the Aston Martin very consistent handling, resisting body roll even in the most lenient Grand Touring suspension mode. In fact, given the cracked and potholed nature of California’s roads after some late winter and early spring rains, I preferred to set up the car’s Individual drive setting for soft suspension, heavy steering, sharp throttle and transmission response, and a loud exhaust.

The Aston Martin absolutely shines when driven at a brisk pace, where its controlled and damped ride, eager powertrain, and abundant aural drama stimulate the brain so nicely that it should require a prescription. But any time I ventured beyond 8/10ths, my anxiety returned. Since the DB12 is still a relatively heavy sportster, the stability and traction controls have to step in—especially in tight downhill corners. As I pushed harder, the you-ran-out-of-talent electronics became more obvious and intrusive, eroding my confidence in both the car and myself. For the return trip, I chose to just dial everything back and enjoy the scenery.

2024 Aston Martin DB12 Volante First Drive Review
2024 Aston Martin DB12 Volante First Drive Review

As with my Miata, I learned again that if sunshine and spring breezes could be packaged and prescribed, mental health would skyrocket. But the two differ in one other key area: price. From its $265,000 starting point, my DB12 tester added the brilliant-but-pricey $18,000 coat of paint, a $14,500 carbon ceramic braking package, a staggering $22,900 in leather, carpet, and wood options, $6,200 for diamond-turned wheels, and $4,500 in blackout body jewelry. Even the brown seatbelts are a $1,000 option.

Luckily, we still live in a world where pre-owned Miatas and Mustangs exist, so folks looking for a drop-top fix can get one on the cheap. But those with the means will find Aston Martin’s latest convertible offering to be a tantalizing blend of panache, dynamics, and comfort—a combination that just might put your therapist out of a job.

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